We’ve discussed dietary fat in a previous article.
Now it is time to talk about the effects of being fat on the human body and society at large. Here are some gloomy facts & statistics.
1. Almost a Quarter of the Population
The World Health Organization classifies anyone with a BMI over 30 as obese.
That means that worldwide in 2016, according to the WHO, more than 1.9 billion people classified as obese.
With a population of 7.4 billion people, that’s about a quarter of the world; and it’s expected to grow.
2. 41 Million Preschoolers
41 million preschool students were classified as obese in 2016. The heavier a child is and the older they are, the more likely they are to remain overweight as adults.
A third of preschoolers turn into obese adults, while roughly half of elementary school children do.
3. Overweight More Worrisome Than Underweight
In the recent past, the danger of starvation was ever looming for most of mankind, but things are changing.
It’s estimated that about 65% of the world’s population live in countries where someone is more likely to die from illnesses related to being overweight than ones related to being underweight.
4. Fifth Leading Cause of Death Globally
Illnesses related to being overweight or obese are the fifth leading risk for global preventable deaths and the second leading cause of preventable death in the USA.
These statistics mean that we are no longer in an obesity epidemic, but a pandemic.
5. Calories In > Calories Out
While there are greater societal factors at work, the basic cause of individual obesity is agreed upon by everyone – taking in more calories than you burn causes you to gain weight.
Easy access to calorie dense food has contributed to the increase in unhealthy BMIs worldwide.
6. Body and Mind
Obesity is directly linked to a variety of illnesses like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and osteoarthritis.
There is also research pointing to obesity having a relationship with certain cancers, and even mood disorders like depression and bipolar disorder.
7. More Women Than Men
In most countries, women are more likely to be obese than men. Women who are of higher socioeconomic status are more likely to be obese than women of lower status.
Also, women who grew up nutritionally deprived are more likely to be overweight than their counterparts. Neither of these statistics hold true for men.
There are two kinds of declarative memory – being able to recall general facts, called semantic memory; and being able to recall personal facts and past events, called episodic memory.
The latter is shown to be poorer in those with a higher BMI.
9. Reduces Pleasure
An area of the brain called the striatum plays a role in helping us experience pleasure from eating certain foods, like those high in sugar. In a small study, they found that women who gain weight had decreased activity in this region of the brain.
10. Eye Problems
Being overweight is linked to having increased pressure behind your eyes.
While obesity is not directly implicated in the development of glaucoma, it could heighten your chances of developing it later in life. Floppy eye syndrome also has a weak link to obesity.
There are many barriers to overcome when trying to lose weight, physically and psychosocially, differing from person to person.
However the costs of being overweight are overwhelming for both the individual and society as a whole. Sadly, all the signs are that the increase in obesity numbers is only set to continue.